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    UCA board calls meeting after 'gift' controversy

    10:45 PM, Sep 2, 2011   |    comments
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    CONWAY, Ark. (AP) -- The man in charge of the University of Central Arkansas is no longer the college president.

    On Friday afternoon, the board of trustees approved the resignation of President Allen Meadors. It comes after controversy over a $700,000 gift to the school to renovate the president's home.

    An emergency meeting was called Friday afternoon at UCA where the board of trustees unanimously approved Meadors' resignation and a buyout package. Meadors was not there but Board Chairman Scott Roussel says Meadors called him Friday morning, asking for a way out.

    As a UCA freshman, Veronica Lauderdale never really knew President Allen Meadors well. But she recently read about him in the paper.

    "Something about UCA on the front and figured I should read it and it was about the president and the whole money issue," Lauderdale said.

    It was a money issue tied to a $700,000 gift to renovate the president's home, offered to UCA from food service provider Aramark. In exchange, UCA would renew Aramark's contract for seven years, but Meadors never revealed that to the full board of trustees.   

    "I can't say that I'm disappointed in him but it made a lot more sense if he had told everybody," Lauderdale said. 

    The board of trustees agreed and on Friday signed off on Meadors resignation.

    "It's one of those things, it caused unnecessary controversy," Board Chairman Scott Roussel said. "I still feel it was a good situation but was not presented properly."

    Board Chairman Scott Roussel says the gift from Aramark is now off the table. He also says that was only one reason behind Meadors departure but he wouldn't elaborate on the others. He did say those other reasons weighed higher than the gift controversy.

    "There were a few other things and it was just one of those things we dealt with it in executive session and the right outcome came about," Roussel said.  

    It's an unexpected outcome for students like Lauderdale.

    "I'm an incoming freshman and I was always look up to the staff and everything and the fact that it was the president that resigned at the beginning of the year is a very big shock for me," Lauderdale said.

    Meadors did apologize and said he took full responsibility for the gift controversy at a board meeting yesterday. On Friday, Rousell says Meadors will likely head to his lake house in North Carolina.

    Meadors will be replaced on an interim basis by Tom Courtway, currently UCA's legal counsel. Courtway has held this interim president role in the past.

    The buyout package also says Meadors will continue to get his current salary until next July. After that he'll receive nearly $340,000 to wrap it up, and that will be paid for in private funds, like university donations. 

    Here are the terms of Meadors' resignation:
    - Dr. Meadors' parents have 90 days to vacate the university home they reside in. Additional time may be given if they request it. Dr. Meadors is responsible for paying rent for those 90 days.

    - President will move out of the university owned home by Oct. 1.

    - The university will continue to pay for storage of Dr. Meadors' personal belongings, which are already in storage. The shipping of the belongings will be Dr. Meadors' responsibility.

    - Car allowance ends Oct. 1.

    - Will continue to be on the university's health insurance through June 30, 2012.

    - Will receive sick days and annual leave that have been accrued.

    - After sick leave and annual leave is exhausted, the remainder of the payments through June 30, 2012 will be used to purchase his tenure.

    - For period of July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 will be paid $225,325 in private funds. 

    -  For period July 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013 will be paid half of $225,325 from private funds. 

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